School gives students shocking, 'disgraceful' assignment
Parents were outraged when they learned that their children at Beauchamps High School in Wickford, Essex were asked to write their own suicide notes in an English class. The underclassmen were left "traumatized" after writing the mock letters from the perspective of a fictional character named Eva.
According to the school's teachers, the lesson was meant to teach the 13 and 14-year-old students about "empathy" and taking "responsibility" for their actions. Georgie Paige Clarke, 25, was outraged to learn that her younger sister had written one of the notes. She said:
"I'm fine with the fact that yes the girl [Eva] writes it, but why are teachers thinking it's acceptable to get 13-year-olds to write them as if they were the girl? I personally think this is so wrong and feel really uncomfortable knowing they think this is normal. Karys read me what she'd wrote (she wasn't aware of the seriousness of it before I mentioned it) and I literally sobbed. The fact I just heard my baby sister's suicide note just broke my heart."
Other people were upset about the assignment given the prevalence of depression in teenage students. They were concerned that the notes might hit home for such students and enhance rather than alleviate their troubles. Facebook user Dan Stone wrote:
"I personally think this is disgraceful subject 13-year-olds to this kind of work especially as there so impressionable and as a lot of young children are actually going through depression at the moment. I don't know about anyone else but when I did homework were you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes you think hard into it and if any of these children have been thinking about doing something like this God forbid it. Could this not push them to the edge? Disgraceful."
Faculty at the school continue to defend the assignment as they feel that the assignment aligns with the curriculum and syllabus of the course. Headteacher Bob Hodges said:
"The students in Year nine and 10 for their GCSE English Literature are studying An Inspector Calls as I am sure many students across the country are and have done since I was a student at school which was many, many moons ago. Under the syllabus, the things to be studied are the themes of responsibility and the fact that every character in the play is 'responsible.' The students have been asked to write a character's last journal entry, expressing thoughts and feelings. That's actually what's been set."
Nevertheless, parents and strangers alike are outraged by the assignment.
Watch this video to learn about a similar assignment given to students at a New York school:
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